Boy Scouts reject Utah Pride Center partnership
A proposition to create a troop of straight but allied individuals in connection with the Utah Pride Center was denied by the Boy Scouts of America. The troop would have been housed in the Center and taken a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for members but encouraged an open-minded approach to scouting. “Based on the mission of the [Utah Pride Center], we do not believe a chartered partner relationship is beneficial to Scouting,” Deron Smith, public relations director for Boy Scouts, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Boy Scouts may reverse its ban on gay members but a decision is not expected until May. Boy Scouts have been surveying members and community leaders about the policy. In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Scouts have the ability to deny membership based on sexual orientation.
Orrin Hatch endorses civil unions
Sen. Orrin Hatch recently announced he would support civil unions as a way to stave off the advance of gay marriage. He spoke to Logan, Utah’s KVNU radio station and said while he does not believe sexuality is a choice, marriage equality should not be legalized.
“I’ll say this, I do believe this could be solved greatly by a civil-union law that would give gay people the same rights as married people,” Hatch said. “I think we can solve this problem without undermining the very basis of marital law in our country.”
Hatch said legalizing gay marriage would lead to “every Tom, Dick and Harry in there with some crazy marital scheme demanding the same rights and the same privileges.”
Despite being advanced in several states, civil unions do not offer equal protection to gay couples and fall short in areas such as immigration, Social Security benefits, exemption from federal inheritance taxes and others. There are no civil union or marriage benefits for gay Utah couples.
Most Salt Lake City Scouts want to exclude gays, survey finds
More than 80 percent of Boy Scout leaders and members in Salt Lake City oppose allowing gays into the organization, according to a Scouts survey. However, the survey is under strong criticism, having had only a 10 percent response rate and many of the questions appeared to be leading responses in a specific direction. Also, the survey could not be taken anonymously and the Scouts decided who was allowed to take the poll. The survey did find that 70 percent of respondants said they’d quit or be less involved in Scouting if the ban is lifted.
Snoop Lion rejects gay rappers
Reggae artist and former rap artist Snoop Lion said he’s not sure if the rap industry will ever accept gays in its ranks. Although Snoop Lion has publicly supported gay rights in the past, he said there’s no room for gays in the rap world. When asked about Grammy Award-winning artist Frank Ocean, Snoop Lion had this to say: “Frank Ocean ain’t no rapper. He’s a singer. It’s acceptable in the singing world, but in the rap world I don’t know if it will ever be acceptable because rap is so masculine.
Gaming company facing backlash for its equality stance
The gaming company Electronic Arts is on track to be ranked the Worst Company in America by the Consumerist. But EA executives said they believe the ranking isn’t a reflection on poor performance, but its pro-equality stance. EA games frequently feature queer characters and receive critiques, emails and protests from anti-gay groups. Peter Moore, a company spokesperson, said the Consumerist poll is being inundated by anti-gay activists who are asking their followers to vote against EA.
“In the past year, we have received thousands of emails and postcards protesting EA for allowing players to create LGBT characters in our games. This week, we’re seeing posts on conservative web sites urging people to protest our LGBT policy by voting EA the Worst Company in America… If that’s what makes us the worst company, bring it on. Because we’re not caving on that.”
Apple CEO tops ‘Out’ magazine’s list of most powerful gays
Apple CEO Tim Cook was ranked as the world’s most influential gay by Out magazine. The magazine releases its Power 50 list each year, with the award this year going to Cook, who took charge of the tech giant in 2011. Other notable additions include music sensation Frank Ocean at No. 10 and Dustin Lance Black, No. 43
South African government to offer low-cost HIV medication
The South African government will offer a daily anti-retroviral pill that will only cost $10 per month. There are 5.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa and health officials have struggled with ways to combat the spread of the disease and rising drug costs. The pill is expected to have fewer side effects and will replace a regime of at least three daily pills. A similar drug retails for approximately $2,000 in the U.S.
Montana House advances bill repealing anti-gay bill
Montana House members voted to repeal an obsolete state law that criminalizes gay sex. The bill cleared the house in a 64-36 vote and still needs to pass a final Senate vote before facing Gov. Steve Bullock. Rep. Bryce Bennett, who is gay, said the law shows how unequal he is in the law. Although a 1997 Montana Supreme Court case ruled the language of the bill unconstitutional, the law is still technically on the books.
“Under this law, I am considered a felon,” Bennett said. “I am not your equal.”
Bennett acknowledged that he would not face prosecution; he still feels the law’s “sting.”
‘Today Show’ anchor comes out
Weekend Today Show anchor Jenna Wolfe announced that she and her girlfriend of three years, NBC News correspondent Stephanie Gosk, are expecting a baby.
“I have big news, this is big for me” Wolfe, 39, said. “I’m actually pregnant — I’m quite pregnant, actually. My girlfriend Stephanie, who works here at NBC— we’re expecting a baby girl in the end of August.”
She said starting a family is “the adventure of a lifetime. She said she decided to come out so her daughter would be able to grow up in a more accepting world.
Reporter arrested for attending a gay party
A journalist in Saudi Arabia was arrested for allegedly going to a gay party. The morality police, The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, arrested the reporter after he allegedly confessed to going to a gay party. After searching his car, police found three bottles of alcohol. Saudi Arabia is a strong “ally” of the U.S., but criminalizes homosexuality. Punishments range from fines to execution.